FURLESS INTERVIEWS SHARRON FROM WILDLIFE ARC

What inspired you to join Wildlife ARC?

I was inspired to join ARC about eight or nine years ago now because I wanted to involve my children in something I thought would be good for them.  Well of course it turned out to be more about me than the kids.  Over the years their interest and love for these animals has grown, and I feel it has had a profound impact on them, and something that will stay with them (and me) forever.

What are your favourite little critters to care for?

My favourite little critters to care for are all of them. Of course I do have my favourites, but they are all very unique  individuals with their own story. I really don’t want to ever turn animals away regardless of whether I have cared for many of that particular species before, as I know they need my help. I have a saying that they did not have the chance to choose whether or not they came in to care, so why should I pick and choose whether I will help them or not. So I do pretty much everything that comes my way APART from snakes.  Living near the RSPCA and the Reptile Park I do get a few little critters come my way - scaly, feathered and furred.  One of my favourites to care for are the macropods (kangaroos and wallabies).  They are in your face and follow you everywhere so you never feel alone! Recently I had the pleasure to be a close mum to two grey headed flying foxes that also gave me lots of joy - there is always something new.

What are some of the challenges you face being a wildlife carer?

One of the challenges of being a wildlife carer is you just sometimes don’t have enough time. If you have a young joey in care it is hard to run a household, feed the little joey, then tend to all the other animals you have in care.  If you had more time you would be able to gather more native food for birds and possums in care.

Of course another challenge is the heartache you sometimes face as a carer. The animal that was doing so well that has an accident or passes away unexpectedly.  It breaks your heart every time!

How can everyday citizens help our native wildlife without becoming a carer?

Everyday citizens can help the wildlife without being a carer by giving funds if they are able. Also by planting native gardens for birds and possums. They can also help by being responsible owners of cats and dogs. These can have a devastating effect on the wildlife if allowed to roam freely. Members of the public can also check pouches of animals that have been hit at the side of the road to see if there are orphaned babies that may need help.  Members of the public can also help by transporting animals to carers. It is hard to collect animals if you already have animals in care that cannot be left for you to attend rescues.

Any crazy or funny stories you want to share?

Crazy funny stories I would like to share!! How long have you got?!?! My time in ARC has been full of wonderful stories of many different characters.

There was Blossom the ringtail possum who built a drey in our bedroom!

There was Petal our brushtail possum who after being released used to “drop bear” down on to you from the trees to say hello to you.

My twin Eastern Grey Kangaroos who were very quiet and well behaved when they first arrived. But when they worked out how to jump my makeshift barricade in the lounge room, they used to come in to the kitchen demanding their bottles, then go into the bedroom to play bouncing on the bed.

So many more tales and many more animals who have all been so unique and brought SO much joy. The JOY outweighs the WORK!

Sharron Jones

Carer with Wildlife ARC